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Ilha do Desterro

Print version ISSN 0101-4846On-line version ISSN 2175-8026

Ilha Desterro vol.71 no.3 Florianópolis Sept./Dec. 2018 


Introduction: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Applied Linguistics

1Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil

Controversies about what Applied Linguistics is abound. Moita Lopes (2009), for example, provides a historical review of the development of Applied Linguistics and identifies different moments:

  • Applying theories of the field of Linguistics: applying theories of language description from the field of Linguistics to the investigation of second language learning and teaching, as well as translations studies;

  • Redefining AL: searching for independence from Linguistics and adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on the investigation of second language teaching and, occasionally, translation;

  • Extending the scope of investigation from an interdisciplinary perspective: addressing problems related to the practice of language in diverse contexts (e.g., classroom, courtroom, media, police station, hospital).

In the Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics launched by Wiley (Chapelle, 2013), we can observe how comprehensive the field is, as the encyclopedia lists 28 areas that make up the field of Applied Linguistics, as observed below:

  • • Analysis of Discourse and Interaction

  • • Assessment and Testing

  • • Bilingual and Multilingual Education

  • • Bilingualism and Multilingualism

  • • Biographies

  • • Cognitive Second Language Acquisition

  • • Conversation Analysis

  • • Corpus Linguistics

  • • Critical Discourse Analysis

  • • Culture and Context

  • • Discourse

  • • Forensic Linguistics

  • • Grammar

  • • Language Ideology

  • • Language Learning and Teaching

  • • Language Policy and Planning

  • • Language for Specific Purposes

  • • Lexis

  • • Literacy

  • • Multimodal Communication

  • • Phonetics and Phonology

  • • Pragmatics

  • • Qualitative Methods

  • • Quantitative and Mixed Methods

  • • Social, Dynamic, and Complexity Theory Approaches to Second Language Development

  • • Technology and Language

  • • Translation and Interpreting

  • • World Englishes

The interdisciplinary nature and the eclectic use of theoretical and methodological approaches of Applied Linguistics are highlighted by the American Association of Applied Linguistics, which points out that the field “addresses a broad range of language-related issues in order to understand their roles in the lives of individuals and conditions in society” ( as well). In a similar vein, the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA) refers to the interdisciplinary character of Applied Linguistics, but its definition of the field calls attention to the “explicit orientation towards practical, everyday problems related to language and communication” (

Ilha do Desterro journal is a landmark in the field of Applied Linguistics in Brazil, given that it is a publication from the Pós-Graduação em Letras Inglês, a program that has been in the forefront of Applied Linguistics since 1971. In tune with the interdisciplinary nature of Applied Linguistics, this issue brings articles on diverse topics: teacher education, second language teaching (collaborative writing and explicit pronunciation instruction), language policies, auditory phonetics, translation and corpus linguistics, and discourse analysis.

Guimarães and Finardi open this issue with an important discussion about how the concepts of interculturality, internationalization and intercomprehension are related. The authors define the three terms and review relevant literature for each of them, discussing consequences for additional language teaching in different contexts. The article also provides examples of how the current notion of internationalization adopted by the Brazilian funding agencies impacts language policy in higher education. Moreover, the authors propose alternative paths for the pursuit of internationalization by Brazilian universities. Guimarães and Finanrdi make a compelling case for incorporating the notions of interculturality and intercomprehension in the teaching of additional languages in Brazil, in order to promote mutual respect among different people, languages, and cultures.

Concários’s study reveals the complexity of promoting collaborative writing and language awareness in an English for Specific Purposes context. Working with a group of Radio/TV Studies undergraduates, the researcher reports on the experiences the group had with the implementation of collaborative writing on a 60-hour course that focused on integrated skills development. The teacher-researcher engaged students in a series of activities that required them to work collaboratively with the goal of preparing oral presentations and written texts on topics related to their undergraduate degree. The study discusses collaborative learning by examining the instances of collaborative work in the writing of two texts via Google Docs, and by analyzing the students’ comments about the course in a questionnaire administered by the institution, as well as comments provided by the students in a final oral presentation and in their portfolios.

Rocha, Borelli and Silvestre conducted a qualitative study entitled “‘Speaking properly’: language conceptions problematized in English lessons of an undergraduate teacher education course in Brazil”. The authors report on a classroom-based study that employs a number of research instruments to investigate how students attending a teacher education language program react to the content of one of their language courses, which was designed to promote discussion and reflection about race/racism and language as space of power. The authors present the students’ accounts and reflect on how this experience might have helped the students to reconceptualize language learning and language itself.

Nascimento’s article closes the section of studies addressing language teaching and teacher education issues. The research context here is a subproject of the PIBID Program (Programa Institucional de Bolsas de Iniciação à Docência), which is part of the Brazilian government policy to promote teacher education programs. The author reports on a PIBID subproject that involves student-teachers from an English undergraduate program and refers to this context to discuss the relation between neoliberalism and the English language. By observing the implementation of the subproject and interviewing the student-teachers and the coordinator of the PIBID subproject, Nascimento concludes that despite the limitations of the PIBID projects and its ties with neoliberal values, the English PIBID subproject examined in the study reveals that those involved in teacher-education initiatives can still fight some of these neoliberal values.

Carlet and Kivisto-de-Souza conducted a classroom-based study in order to examine the effects of pronunciation instruction on the perception and production of a number of English vowels. The learners in this study were Catalan speakers enrolled in an English undergraduate program in Spain. The research design included pretests, a period of formal pronunciation instruction provided during an English Phonetics and Phonology course, and posttests. The authors tested the learners’ ability to perceive and produce the target vowels, and the results revealed that the period of instruction improved the learners’ perception but not their production. Carlet and Kivisto-de-Souza advocate that production modification requires practice with activities that promote phonological-awareness, and propose some activities that can be used by learners to fulfill this goal.

Engelbert and Kluge report on their study in the area of auditory phonetics involving second language learners. They were interested in the perception of voice quality by bilingual listeners. Their study includes talkers and listeners who share the same L1 (Brazilian Portuguese) and the same L2 (English). The listeners were experienced English teachers, while the talkers were Brazilians residing in the United States. The authors highlight that perception of voice quality involves the identification of acoustic characteristics of the speech signal (e.g., pitch and tone of voice), as well as judgements about emotional characteristics, personality traits, physical characteristics, and cultural background. This type of study yields relevant insights for both second language teaching and learning, forensic phonetics and speech recognition technology.

The field of discourse analysis is represented by Almeida’s study on the multimodal properties of baby dolls produced and sold in the Brazilian market. Adopting Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (2006) Visual Grammar as her main theoretical framework, the author discusses how the visual, verbal, tactile and textual information provided in the packages of five Brazilian baby dolls prescribe roles to be adopted by young girls. The author highlights how the contemporary toy industry has perpetuated parenting duties and medical abilities as being essential for females. The study concludes that by observing the packages in the baby doll industry, it becomes clear that traditional roles are still assigned to females in the Brazilian society.

The issue ends with an article in the field of translation studies. Soares discusses the strategies used in the translation of fairy tales in Brazil. Her discussion is guided by the notion of purification, which she describes as a translation strategy that involves cultural adaptations (e.g., deletion and omission of language and/or themes) made by the translator in order to make the narrative ‘suitable’ for the target audience, according to norms that regulate the target language culture. Based on corpus linguistic tools provided by the Copa-Trad software (Fernandes & Silva, 2014), the article examines the translation strategies used to translate fairy tales from the book English Fairy Tales (Os mais belos contos de fada ingleses). For the analysis, the author relies on Klingberg's (1986) cultural context adaptations categories. The analysis reveals that the target text evinces a number of examples of purification, which were motivated by the moral values prevailing in Brazil by the time the translation of the book was accomplished (1940s).

In this issue, we received contributions from researchers of nine Brazilian universities and from a Spanish university, namely: Universidade Federal de Goiás, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Universidade Estadual de São Paulo, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, and Universitat Internacional de Catalunya.

The Ilha do Desterro editorial team is thankful to all the authors for their high-quality research, and all the reviewers for their invaluable contributions.


American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL). [ Links ]

Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA). [ Links ]

Chapelle, C. (2013). The Enyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, Online ISBN:9781405198431). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. [ Links ]

Fernandes, L. & Silva, C. (2014). COPA-TRAD (Corpus Paralelo de Tradução). Retrieved from http://copa-trad.ufsc.brLinks ]

Klingberg, G. (1986). Children’s Fiction in the Hands of the Translators. Lund, Sweden: Gleerup. [ Links ]

Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: The Grammar of Visual Design. London: Routledge. [ Links ]

Moita Lopes, L. P. (2009). Da aplicação da Linguística à Linguística Aplicada indisciplinar. In: R. C. Pereira & P. Roca, (orgs.). Linguística Aplicada: Um Caminho com muitos Acessos (pp. 11-24). Ed. Contexto, São Paulo [ Links ]

* Faculty member of the Department of Foreign Language and Literature, and of the English Post-Graduation Program at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. She is a research fellow of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Her teaching and research interests involve the development and teaching of L2 speech. Currently she is also the coordinator of the Letras Undergradute Program. E-mail:

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